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Living DataMaking Sense of Health Bio-Sensing$
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Maggie Mort, Celia Roberts, and Adrian Mackenzie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447348665

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447348665.001.0001

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Biosensing in Old Age

Biosensing in Old Age

(p.125) 4 Biosensing in Old Age
Living Data

Celia Roberts

Adrian Mackenzie

Maggie Mort

Theresa Atkinson

Mette Kragh-Furbo

Joann Wilkinson

Policy Press

How does biosensing reach into the lives of older people living at home? Here we examine care monitoring systems for older people, or telecare, as this has become known. We focus in particular on the wearable falls detector, an alarm device which triggers, it is claimed, when a person trips or falls. We explore findings from ethnographies of home telecare and from citizens’ panel debates on how individuals and families live with such systems, and how falls detectors are constructed as workable. Following individuals' interactions with telecare we question the notion of self-tracking, preferring the term dys-tracking as better reflecting their relationship with automated devices. Falls detectors are technically highly complex, collecting data difficult to interpret. Ageing bodies are invariably assessed as low functioning and intrinsically at risk. Views from our citizens’ panels however, show a more active and imaginative constituency where practices of self-care exist alongside remote-care systems.

Keywords:   care, telecare, automation, ageing, bodies, older people, falls detectors, dys-tracking, self-tracking, citizens’ panel

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